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tv   Cuomo Prime Time  CNN  July 16, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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even condemning racism is a partisan issue these days. only four republicans agreed with what democrats and common sense made clear, that trump's words about the lawmakers he targeted were racist and wrong. only four out of 197 republicans. why? we'll show you why in the poll numbers. how does a republican rationalize seeing something so wrong as right. how about the man who was almost our immigration czar. let's test his argument. as for the dems, was condemning the comments enough? why not censure the president? are the democrats playing it too safe? we have two democrats to debate the way forward. and mark sanford learned the hard way what happens when you go against donald j. trump. he's considering a run against him. wait until you hear why. what do you say? let's get after it.
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♪ the president warned republicans this morning and only four had the spine to put principle before party. and let's be honest, this was a layup. the president said racist things about their fellow lawmakers. still, only four, will hurd, brian fitzpatrick, ford upton. is this about right and left or about right and wrong. let's bring in u.s. senate candidate from kansas, once considered for high positions in this administration. good to have you back on "prime time." >> great to be with you, chris. >> help me understand. how is it okay for people in your party to say i'm not condemning these words. they're not racist? >> okay. well, first of all, if you look at the words themselves, when
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the president said i think people are focusing on that these members of congress should go back to the crime-infested places from which they came. in aoc's case, it's the bronx, detroit, and somalia. those are all crime-infested places. with somalia, there's terrorism, too. so it's a fact, he's just -- to simply state that fact is not racist. i think that's why many republicans said, look -- >> that's not why, chris. i let you get the argument. i let you get the argument out. i'm saying it fails on its face. he wasn't talking about the bronx. he was telling them to go back to the countries that you come from and he kept saying it. he doubled and tripled down. only on omar did it make sense because she's a naturalized citizen. that's the part i don't get. if you're going to excuse what he said, then don't twist what he said.
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own the reality. he told four brown people, go back to the places where you brown people come from, you don't belong here. >> now you're editorializing it. the problem with twitter, it's 140 characters and since it's so vague -- >> he said the words. >> people can read into it what they want. >> he said the words. >> he didn't say it the way you said that. >> yes, he did. >> let's put it in context with his other tweets. clearly what the president was making was a larger argument about love it or leave it. if you're going to criticize america so much, go back to or go somewhere else. >> why doesn't he say that to white people? >> he would say that too. >> he never has. >> that argument has been around since the 1960s. >> it's been around longer than that. people have been immigrants and brown people to leave for a long time. it happens in waves.
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you had the know nothing party. they did it to my an ancestors. >> the love it or leave it argument was made in the 1960s against people who opposed the vietnam war. it's not a racist -- >> it is when it's directed at four brown people. >> no, if one of those people or several of those people have been saying that millions of americans are dying on the streets for lack of health care, and america is a place where human rights violations are flagrant, then many people react saying that's not america, that's a false mischaracterization of america. if you think our country, is so bad, leave. there's nothing racist about it. >> it is when it's directed at those people. and you never use the same could not with anyone who is white. bernie sanders says the same things. this president has said those kinds of things and worse about this country. he's been beating up on the country for years and years. nobody told him to go back to wherever he thinks his father was born. >> no.
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and the other thing is, it doesn't -- it wouldn't make sense the way you're interpreting it. aoc and the other who were born in the united states -- >> i agree. >> it doesn't make sense, because you -- they didn't come from there. i didn't come from the place -- >> i agree. it doesn't make any sense. it's just a straight color play. that's all it is. >> that's the problem with twitter. >> no, he said it also -- >> you're reading into it. >> i'm not reading into it. it's what he said and i don't get why you try to excuse it. just own it and say you know what, i'm okay with what he said. >> no. >> i'm sick of these people too. >> that's the problem -- there's nothing racist about saying, love it or leave it, love this country, stop saying false things about this country. >> that's not what he said. and i just don't get it. >> let's put this in a larger -- >> please. >> here's one thing i would assume you would agree, the president tweeted this because he wanted to put the spotlight on those four very radical members of the democrats in congress and he wanted them to be the spokespeople for the
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democratic party. >> they are an extension of the brown menace that he's coming after in this country. >> no. >> yes. when he said that the caravans were filled with military-aged men and drug dealers, and only now do you admit it's half kids and families. >> the reason president trump wants to put the spotlight on them is because they're pushing socialism, they're pushing a left agenda and as long as people are seeing them as represents of the democratic party, they are winning. and i think nancy pelosi would agree with what i just said. >> i think the president wants to get as many people as he can to say look at these brown women who look like they're not like you, and let's demonize them because that's what they want us all to be, these radical -- >> that's not what the president said. >> of course, it is what he said and it's what he targeted and it's not -- >> that's not what he said. he did not say brown women.
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>> he doesn't like what's going on with the news. he picks a race battle. it happens time and time again and you guys defend him. >> he didn't pick a race battle. he picked a battle and the left and you choose to characterize it as a race battle. >> what do you want me to do when he makes a racist comment? i call him a demagogue because i don't want to get into the business of what he thinks he is. if he says i'm not a racist, then it gives guys like you cover to defend him. what would you do if the president said, i am a racist, that's why i said it. what would you do? >> then i would not defend him. because there's no excuse for racism in america. >> would you still support him as president? you have to think about whether or not you would support a racist? really? >> i'd have to know who was running again him. >> a racist? >> look -- >> an admitted racist you would have to know more. chris, come on, man. it can't be that partisan.
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>> these are ridiculous hypotheticals. >> it's ridiculous that it took you that long to answer it. >> no. >> you're running for senate and you've got to take a pause whether or not if he said he was a racist you'd still support him? come on, brother, i hope it's a satellite delay. >> your hypothetical doesn't make sense. >> how so? >> because the president has not said anything racist. the president would not say, i'm an admitted racist. >> he has said many racist things, he has never said he is a racist. he says i'm the at least racist, which isn't saying he's not a racist, he's the least amount of -- >> let's go to another thing -- >> no, no -- >> go ahead. >> let's go to another hypothetical that you and others on the left will characterize as racist -- >> i'm not on the left. say what you want to say. >> okay. that's news to me.
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the president -- >> why would i invite you on? >> the people coming from mexico are rapists and criminals, et cetera -- >> that is what he said. >> the president said there are many people coming from across the border who are -- fall into those categories. that's not a racist statement. that's stating there is a criminal element in the flow of immigration. >> that's not what he said, that wasn't the context, chris. he said mostly. he was saying in the main that that's who's coming across. and some, i assume -- >> he didn't say mostly. >> what came after it was and some, i assume, are good people. he then materially misrepresented what the composition was in the caravans. he materially misrepresented what the challenge would be at our port's entry. and only now after selling a fence, only now is the
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administration owning what they've been told for over a year which is, it's kids and families and we're not ready for it. and he's done nothing to help them. how am i wrong? >> well, the president has done a lot to try to address the problem and the president has asked for more money so these individuals can be detained in better conditions. and by the way that's another high. >> what has he done to help the conditions? he had his dhs secretary sign onto a document that said this works because it will be a harsh deterrent. come on. >> the misstatements by, for example, omar again claiming that people are drinking out of toilets, you know that's false. it's a unit that includes both a toilet on the side and a sink on the top. it's common in american prisons. but saying they're drinking out of toilets, suggests people are drinking out of the toilet bowl. that's a false statement that --
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>> a member of congress says that that's what she's told by somebody and it's being investigated. you can call me a lefty. you can make your snide little remarks. i don't have any definitive proof of what was said and what wasn't. i welcome it. i had morgan on, he didn't have any proof. i'm in contact with these guys. i welcome proof. i don't forward things that i can't prove. don't come at me about not understanding the conditions on the border. or being some johnny come lately to the situation. you know better than that. i've been fighting for political action on this show for many, many months to a deaf ear by both parties. now they're acting on it. let's see what they do. i'll tell you this, you can say what you want, i will give you an opportunity on this show to make your case to the american people because it's important for people to get the full range of where we are politically in this country. thank you for taking the opportunity. >> my pleasure. so let's get to this central question, republicans, four out of 197, why? why wouldn't more come forward
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on something so obvious? he's not in congress. he's not directly responsible to a constituency. there is an answer. and it's in the numbers. there he is, the wizard of odds will show us why they did what they did today, next. bla respect
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switch to geico. it's a win-win. switch to geico. nlash serum solution. with our lash caring complex... see a thicker-looking lash fringe in just 4 weeks. over 10,000 women tried it and love it. my husband has noticed a difference. i really love lash serum. try new lash serum solution. from l'oreal paris. seeing something that is clearly racist is a partisan issue these days. only four house republicans, will hurd, brian fitzpatrick, fred up ton and susan brooks supported what democrats and common sense put together in a resolution denouncing president trump's racist remarks against four of their colleagues. now, why are the numbers so low? there's an answer in the numbers. let's bring in the wizard of odds, harry enten, what do you see that makes this move today
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more reasonable, politically? >> this is basically how many republicans are in districts that hillary clinton won in 2018. there used to be 25 before the 2018 midterms. so there was a lot of play, these sort of members of the house who would want to say reach out to the center of the electorate, but since then, they pretty much got knocked down. of the gop seats in districts clinton won, there are now only three of them. of those four that you just listed, two of those are two of these three. but the vast majority are in trump-held districts. there's no reason for them politically to side against the president of the united states. >> accept if you're going to put party against principle. >> if you're talking about something besides that, then, yes, i understand your viewpoint completely. but from a political point of view, it wasn't a wise move to go against the president -- >> like racism? >> the president holds a 90% approval rating among republicans. this is basically in 2018, there
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were 23 gop reps who signed a petition to force a house vote on daca. it was overwhelmingly popular. only nine of those are still in the house. in that nine, three of those, accept for susan brooks, they were part of that group that voted to force that house vote on daca. and brooks is retiring so she doesn't -- >> the fringe right is making the case against the democrats who have had moderation die off. but really, you're saying in the numbers, it's actually the gop where the mainstream conservative thought is gone? >> i would argue with both but certainly in the gop. there's really not that many moderate voices anymore. just nine on those who signed that daca petition are still in the congress. there are no moderate republicans anymore. and you talk about the senate,
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susan collins is the only moderate republican left. if you look at her statement, it wasn't strong coming against the president of the united states. >> in the midterms, you saw that the majority of democrats that came in, you had a lot of women, they were centrist democrats. they had a little bit of a move here. what else do we see in the numbers that's relevant? >> if we're talking about the democrats, all of them voted on this resolution against the president of the united states. that included the squad who come from, if you were to -- >> you're going to call them that? >> we're calling it -- alexandria ocasio-cortez, tlaib, pressley, omar, how they voted in the 2016 presidential election, we see that the squad districts, plus 61, clinton, the average democrat was in a plus clinton district. the moderate democrats in those swing districts, they were just plus one clinton and they voted for this resolution too. in terms of the center of the
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electorate, it is a good thing to go against the president of the united states and that's why we saw all those democrats going against him. >> and also, it's context. if you can't speak conscious on something about racism -- you heard chris, they're trying to twist this. the president has not made the same case he does. he has not come out and say, boy, was i taken wrong. and that tells us everything. thank you for giving us the nuance inside the numbers. >> i try my best. on the democrat side, they did a condemn resolution today. they could have gone right into impeachment. where are they in terms of when it will be time to make a real stand? that's the subject for the great debate, these are the two great minds put to it, next. when you start with a better hot dog from oscar mayer... that's no way to treat a dog... ...you can do no wrong. where did you learn that? the internet... yeah? mmm! with no artificial preservatives or added nitrates or nitrites, it's all for the love of hot dogs.
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you can't read what the president said, you can't listen to his own words out of his own mouth and not think that there were racist implications to what he said. but only four brave souls and they are brave because this president will come for you and the party loves him, only four in congress were willing to vote to condemn what he said. so given the all but intractable attraction of the gop to this president, was today the right play for democrats? the start of tonight's great debate. good to have you both. howard, was condemning enough? >> sure. look, the public doesn't know the difference between censuring and condemning. and i think it was important for the speaker to keep the party together. this is great. i want to say more about that later. but i want to give anna her shot. >> very polite. anna, was it enough? >> i do not agree it's enough. i think that the democratic
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party and specifically democratic leadership needs to be more -- needs to do more to hold donald trump accountable, not just for his statements and his tweets, but more importantly, for his actions. we have at least two dozen migrants who have died under his watch in u.s. custody. the fact that we haven't even entertained the idea of an impeachment inquiry and i'm specifically talking about democratic leadership, i believe is a gross injustice. >> what would be the basis of impeachment? i don't know that you would be able to make it on the case of dead migrants. nobody should like that but you would have to show a direct line of culpability. >> there's quite a bit, if you don't want to focus on that issue, there's the fact that mueller's report gives you various examples of obstruction of justice, you also have the issue of trump using his charitable foundation to enrich himself. there are conflict of interest and violations of the clause in the constitution and i just want democratic leadership to fight
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donald trump as aggressively as they fight the so-called squad, the progressive freshman democrats. >> let's be polite, there's a growing number of casparians. >> i think the democrats have to step up the pace of the investigations. he's a crook -- >> that's what they say. >> you got to start proving it and get more evidence and they got to move these investigations along a little faster. i know the white house is stalling and so forth. we got to go faster. here's the point i wanted to make. trump always wants to make it about trump. trump -- i actually believe that
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as long as trump knows he has a backstop in the senate, he would love to be impeached. if we are talking about trump with three months to go next year, we're going to lose the election, and he's going to be re-elected. we have to have a conversation about housing, about education, about income inequality, and about the fact that the working class in this country is getting screwed by the guy many of them voted for. that is the core conversation that's going to win us the election. >> anna is nodding. i call that the positive opposite of this president and who will be the messenger and what will be that message. if you're nodding but you also want to go down the impeachment road, why are you nodding? >> i think it's important to hold donald trump accountable, but i think it's ridiculous to shortchange ourselves and pretend as if we can't do both things. we should -- >> but they can't. but they can't, they couldn't even get money for the kids on the border. what have they done? >> i completely disagree. first of all, that appropriations bill that -- the freshman democrats voted against which is what frustrated and angered house speaker nancy pelosi gave donald trump
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$4.6 billion in taxpayer money with no strings attached, there were no safeguards in place to make sure that trump improves the squaller that these children and migrants are being detained in. but at the same time i think it's ridiculous to say that you can't focus on economic injustice in america, the fact that our health care system is broken, and also hold the president accountable. >> i hear you. >> that's the whole point of having the democrats control the house of representatives. >> right. you should be able to. but having just one house -- having one house isn't enough. i hear you about the check and they should be able to do both. we haven't seen it to this point. and the question becomes this, you guys are agreeing about, well, you don't want it to be all about this president. but it is going to be all about
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him. it's going to be a referendum. he wasn't on the ballot in the midterms. it was a rejection vote. how do you balance your two interests here, keeping it away from him, but making it about rejecting him? >> trump will do the work for us. every time he opens his mouth, the majority of the american people are disgusted. the guy is a liar and he's a crook, really. i don't think most -- a lot of people close their eyes to that. we can't beat trump by being the anti-trump. we have to say what we're going to do. and we can't let trump make the focus himself. look, this guy is a johns hopkins psychiatrists said, a narcissist. he can do our dirty work for us just by opening his mouth. it is not enough to be just against trump. >> at the end of the day, it's me versus you, it's whoever the two people are, it becomes
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intensely personal, and negative, and that's what happens to unfortunately work best in messaging in campaigns. how do you deal with that and win? >> i think the democrats handled this situation quite well. for instance, they had a press conference yesterday to respond to donald trump's racist tweets and they used that opportunity to not just condemn trump but also talk about what their vision is for america. and so you have representative alexandria ocasio-cortez talking about how we need free public education on a college level, also talking about the health care system and what she envisions as a better system moving forward. you can condemn trump, but let's not be hyper focused on trump is the boogeyman. give americans something to vote for. >> right. that's how we're going to win. we're going to have a candidate who only speaks positively. plenty of people will remind everybody of how awful trump is. they're not proud of donald trump. >> i think they're going to want a fighter, whether it's a man,
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woman, left or center, this is going to be a fight. >> anna, welcome to the show. howard, thank you. most republicans will not go against this president because he will beat them up where they live. all right? that's the reality. congressman mark sanford learned that firsthand. but now he says, he may try to primary the president. why would he do something like that? he's here to make the case next. e the opportunity to bring all of these stories that i've heard to life. i wanted to keep digging, keep learning... this journey has just begun. bring your family history to life like never before. get started for free at ancestry.com if you have moderate to thsevere rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness
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listen, this race stuff, you can say that it's a distraction, but it isn't. it's not about right and left. it's about right and wrong. and i can't believe only four republicans in congress voted along side democrats to condemn the comments. now one member of that party is
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looking to take things a step further and possibly challenge this president in 2020. he is former south carolina congressman mark sanford. good to have you, sir. >> my pleasure. >> let me deal with what is obvious, because you've said his tweets and his comments about the lawmakers were weird, obnoxious, they were racist. do you agree with that? >> again, we can spend a lot of time coming up with the appropriate terminology for what was again weird, strange, all those different things. you know, i guess my frustration is this, so, again, i didn't see the text, i haven't seen the details, but the bottom line is, i think we can agree that they were wrong, period, end of story. >> i don't think it's enough, governor. and i'll tell you why because it's a question of conscious. >> i hear you. >> make your case. >> we'll come back to that. my case is this, we will spend a lot of time talking about this, but we're not spending one moment in this show, maybe we will here in a few moments or in this larger presidential race talking about debt and government spending that will
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have an incredible impact in everyone's life. >> fine. we would have been done. >> the zero time, the zero time -- >> we would have been done. if you said it was racist, we'd be knee deep in whether this tax cut was a tax cut. and the crisis in your party right now is one of character, ironically enough. the man said racist things about the four lawmakers. now either you see that you don't. that's why i'm asking you. >> again, what i just said was i acknowledged the fact that i agree with you that they were weird. >> weird is not racist. >> when you start judging another man's soul -- >> i'm judging the comments. that's for him and his priest, if he has one. what i'm saying is the comments were racist. i don't understand why you don't want to say that.
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>> again, i just -- i give it to you, chris -- >> you're not giving it to me. >> okay. but again it's not the topic that i think ultimately we need to be discussing at large. that's the bigger point. >> i see it as a both. let's move on in the interest of time economy. you want to talk deficit and debt, that's great. here's your problem, your party just capitulated to a tax cut that cripples this deficit in a way we haven't seen in a generation. you're going to -- >> that's not true. >> that tax cut larded onto the deficit in ways that we haven't seen in a generation. i'm glad -- i'm happy to send you the numbers. >> respectfully, respectfully, how much money is the government projected to spend over the next ten years? >> on this tax cut? >> no, without the tax cut. >> the budget every year? >> yeah. how much? >> i don't know. it depends on what they do each year. >> no. there's a baseline right now,
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based on the congressional budget office, it's $43 trillion. you know how much they'll spend with the tax cut? >> how much? >> $41.5 trillion. a 3 1/2% difference over the next 3 1/2 years. we can disagree or agree whether it's a bad idea. but a 3.5% difference is going to cripple where we're at, i don't think it's reality -- >> first of all, what is unrealistic is to project out ten years. that's unfair about it. >> i didn't make up the numbers. it's in the congressional budget office. >> you guys love to say the cbo is crap when you don't disagree with it -- >> you can pull all kinds of comments with me, chris, of -- >> that's what i'm saying. let's do it this way. so you like his tax cut, would you do another one like it. how do you suggest to bring down the deficit, if you were to get
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your nomination? >> i think, again, i happen to be a fan of the penny plan. we got to recognize that this is a real threat. those are not my words, but admiral mike mullin who's the former -- excuse me, the -- oh, coming back to me. anyway, mike mullin -- >> go ahead. >> again, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was the one who said that the greatest threat to american security is not the chinese or the taliban, it's the debt. and so, again, i think it's telling that when a military man asks what's the biggest threat to our civilization simply answers the debt. i think you got to say this is a
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big threat as republicans and democrats, we got to find a way to come together. i happen to be a fan of the penny plan. >> let's do this, you got a long way to go, you're going to have a hard time getting onto your party's primary when obviously the party is in love with the president right now and understandably so, his numbers are sky-high. as we go forward, if you stay in it, you're welcome to come on this show to talk about why it should be you. >> and here's the bigger point i think we would make, we got through two democratic debates and there was no mention of deficit spending. and i look at this for the next 30 days, but as i look at it, my simple point is, we need to interject that into the debate. it may be a run for the president, it may be starting an advocacy group. i don't know. but i do know that we're going to be in a world of hurt and we're walking our way toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of man if we wait another four years, another presidential election cycle to do this. >> fiscal responsibility should
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be paramount. good luck with your deliberations. i look forward to speaking with you again. >> yes, sir, look forward to it, thanks. >> i don't want every conversation to be about what the president says. but his tweets and words were obvious and so were his intentions. i'll deal with that in the closing. and here's something else that a lot of people felt were obvious, i can't breathe. that line became a national rallying cry in the movement to overhaul policing in america. d. lemon is here to break down the controversial decision that came today from the department of justice, next. choosing my car insurance was the easiest decision ever.
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book two, separate qualifying stays at choicehotels.com... ...and earn a $50 gift card. because when your business is rewarding yourself... ...our business is you. book direct at choicehotels.com governot just the powerful and well-connected. that's the american promise. but big corporations and special interests are in control. nothing's happening for real people. our democracy has been purchased. the candidates running for president have great ideas. but we can't get anything done unless we make our democracy serve the people again. i'm tom steyer. i approve this message. i'm running for president because it's time our democracy works for people.
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it's hard to be it's been five years since eric garner's death, the justice department announced today it will not be bringing federal civil rights charges against the new york city officer accused of causing garner's death with the choke hold. attorney general bill barr made the decision.
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he said that they didn't have the evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. he agreed with the eastern district about that over his own civil rights division in house at the doj. d. lemon, this is something that has divided the doj for years and administrations. what's your take? >> it has. you know, i did speak with eric garner's mother today, they believe it was a completely political decision made. they don't understand how it all happened on videotape. this is -- these are their words and that people don't believe the videotape and that he -- from the autopsy it showed that he had the wounds around his neck and 11 times saying i can't breathe. so they are obviously distraught, but, listen, we have been covering these decisions for quite some time now, and as we know, this one was really the start of the black lives matter movement. i don't think it's the last
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we've heard of this case and this family. she tweeted today, this is not over. this is not over, this is not over. >> look, the problem is, civil rights violations are very high bar. the federal government would have to be able to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he did what he did because garner was black. >> yeah. intent. >> and that's hard. but they couldn't get it done on the state level. but they were going to do it on the federal level. the problem is, every one of these leaves us divided on something that matters very much. >> it said that they were concerned -- he said the prosecution of the eastern district of new york were concerned about proving the case over the doj's civil rights division. so you are right on board -- you're right on with that. i guess it's tough to prove, but if you look at it as a layperson and you see it right there on videotape, you wonder, well, how is that hard to prove? also something that we are
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discussing tonight as we talk about the anniversary, obviously, the fifth anniversary of eric garner. tonight you ask someone in the administration a question, their reply is, what is your background? where are you from? what is your ethnicity. what the heck is that. >> i don't know why kellyanne conway did that today. >> the reporter who she posed that question to is going to join us and give us his reaction and take as he was standing there -- i would have been flabbergasted. what does that have to do with anything? you'll see him coming up very shortly on this show. >> see you in a second. >> see you. all right, so where are we right now? he's a racist, he's not a racist? i keep telling you, forget about what he thinks he is. forget about what other people think he is. it's about what he is doing and why. and i'm telling you, he is playing you for a sucker if you
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think he's just making this up. he knows this has worked before and that's why he's a demagogue and i point you out what the play is, because we've seen it before and we know what beats it, next. when you start with a better hot dog from oscar mayer... that's no way to treat a dog... ...you can do no wrong. where did you learn that? the internet... yeah? mmm! with no artificial preservatives or added nitrates or nitrites, it's all for the love of hot dogs.
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here's the argument. too many republicans are choosing convenience over conscience. more gop-ers have supported this president's racist comments than those who have outright condemned them. so they are now complicit in the latest iteration of one of the oldest dirty plays in our political history. and here it is. >> if you hate our country, if you're not happy here, you can leave. >> go back. go back goes way back. 170 years ago the immigrant population doubled. it was the first big influx of newcomers since the country's founding. it sparked a new party. the no nothings. they healtated immigrants. hated catholics. anyone who wasn't like them. they had real power through images like this. irish drunk on whisky. the germans drunk on beer.
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a few decades later stuff like this. an italian immigrant called a wop, stooped over, shining boots. you see how they played with the facial features. same year as this sign. help wanted. in irish need apply. why know nothing? because when asked what they were up to with this bigotry they would say "i know nothing." sound familiar? more. calvin coolidge wrote before he was president "our country must cease to be regarded as a dumping ground," saying "we must allow only the right kind of immigration." sound familiar? for each wave of immigrants we have seen a tide of intolerance. jews, chinese, japanese, korean. latinos. middle east. muslims. all know what it's like to be told you're not welcome. go back. i was raised by people who felt that bite. so trump is making the same play now.
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i usually call him this president. but i cannot connect that office and his actions here. he has already admitted the wrong by how he rationalizes it. not that he believes in the bigotry. but that he wants the intended benefit of it. people liking that he said it. >> does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as race exist that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point? >> it doesn't concern me because many people agree with me. >> fair push back to the argument could be that trump is no student of history. fair enough. but he was a huge student of a big proponent of this kind of propaganda. roy cohn. roy cohn was his lawyer, helped fight discrimination charges against him and his father. but he was more than that. he was a mentor in how to play people in politics, especially by playing to prejudices. why?
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because roy cohn was a pro at this kind of perversity. that's why he was chief counsel to senator joe mccarthy, the architect of the red scare. he sold the same people that trump is playing to now. look. >> i've labeled them as the party of communism. >> even if there's only one communist in the state department, that would still be one communist too many. >> if we, unless we, make sure that there's no infiltration of our government, then just as certain as you sit there in the period of our lives, you will see a red world. >> sound familiar? communism, socialism. here's the problem for this president. this play does not work long term. never has. this country at her best is about inclusion. diversity drives our success when we have success. the waves of immigrants that met bullies like trump and those who peddle prejudice in the past, they overcame.
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my grandparents. here they are in this picture. they were among them. they came. they were scared. they were ignorant. they didn't speak english. they were unsophisticated italians. they were bullied and told to go home. but they believed in something bigger than themselves. the promise of this country. that it's not where you come from, it's not how you start. it's what you do with the opportunity. this coveted freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits. my grandparents worked like animals. they made sure their kids were in school. they saved and they prayed. mario cuomo, my father, was one of the most educated and eloquent men i have ever known. i will never be his equal. he was one generation from the kind of people that trump wants you to fear, whom he wants to go home. we're just two generations out now. my family has two governors, lawyers, doctors, homeless advocates, and me. one disappointment in all that
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success is still pretty impressive. but here's what is needed. for every demagogue to be beaten back. and that's what this president is. forget about whether he thinks he's a racist. that only gives cover to his defenders. he is a demagogue. he pitches to prejudice and he does it on purpose. but they have to meet their match. not someone who is tougher or more violent. but who overwhelms by being the demagogue's positive opposite. example. for mccarthy it was joe welsh. chief counsel for the army who famously said this. >> have you no stance of decency, sir? if there is a god in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. >> that message needs to be delivered. today. trump has made his play. he's a demagogue. and he's supported by scared republicans and those who seek advantage from affiliation in congress and on tv. who will step up and be the voice of reason and righteous indignation?
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that reminds the masses, not just the mob, of who we are and what we are at our best. that's the question we need to answer together. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with d-lemon starts right now. >> what's going on with you? i saw you in the makeup room. your energy's off. you seem down. is this getting to you, what happened today? with the president tweeted and how people are reacting. >> is it getting to me? it hits a little close to home, to be honest. my grandparents were afraid of people like trump. ironically, they grew up very close to one another. where trump grew up is literally blocks from where my grandparents finally, you know, made some advantage here. but they were afraid of people and being judged and being told to go back and called unclean and left in the ghetto.

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